As part of Haringey Peace Week 2003, Haringey Council ran a poetry competition entitled What Peace Means to Me. The competition was won by Ruth Wardley, a multi-talented student of Mathematics and English at CONEL.

Ruth came to the UK four years ago as an asylum seeker from Jamaica. She fled to the UK to escape from political persecution and saw it as an opportunity to study further in order to go on to University. Originally a teacher in Jamaica, she had already won various literature prizes in her home country and in the US and had written short stories, songs, three novels as well as poetry.

The road to being granted asylum in the UK was not easy. So winning the competition was gratifying. As the winner, she received some M & S vouchers and was given the opportunity to read an extract from her latest novel Trapped in the Asylum System (based on her own experiences) at various Peace events over the week, including one at the Civic Centre in Wood Green. She also won a prize for her entry for the best slogan award.

Her winning poem is as follows:

What PEACE means to ME

By Ruth Wardley

The solitude of my soul

In the midst of turmoil,

Pleasant horizons to behold

Though each day I toil.

It means to be tranquillity

As an oasis amid chaos,

Which will breed serenity

Despite untold fuss.

When friends chide and moan

I maintain that calm,

When theres that ceaseless groan,

Inner peace is balm.

To sleep at night untroubled

Without tossing to and fro,

When slumber is uncoupled

From fears, and tears and woe.


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